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Driving traffic to your Facebook page: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Helen Standing posted this on

Are you desperately trying to drive your customers to your Facebook page to ‘like’ it, take part in competitions, comment on your products and services and tell their friends about you? After all, they are on Facebook anyway so you might as well go to them, right?

But whilst you’re driving all that traffic to Facebook have you stopped to look at your own website stats? According to Rob Wilmot, founder of Freeserve and web/social media revolutionary, many companies are putting all their eggs in one basket with ‘de rigeur’ social media platforms like Facebook. At a recent event he warned against what he called free advertising for Facebook and reminded the audience of young business people that websites, email marketing, call centres and face-to-face interaction are still as relevant for reaching customers as ever.

SEO experts are always telling us that content is king and you need to be in as many places as possible on the web, especially on social media platforms which do well in Google rankings. However, this is about link building back to your website, not away from it. Rob said he first picked up on the problem when flicking through adverts on prime time TV. He noticed that most big brands (including Vauxhall) were only giving their Facebook page address – and when he visited these pages he found few triggers to drive people to the company’s actual website. He was also concerned about companies like Vodafone that are putting all their energy in responding to customers who complain via Twitter – but not answering telephone enquiries!

Despite its seemingly all-powerful following, Facebook could fall out of fashion as quickly as it grew, especially when Google+ takes hold. The Google+ model of allowing you to interact with different ‘circles’ of people on one platform could also mean the decline of LinkedIn, Twitter and others as people start doing everything in one place. Google’s +1 tool will also make website content even more important because your Google ranking will depend on how many people endorse it.

Take it from the man who isn’t just an early adopter of the web and social media but one of the self confessed geeks who first saw its potential and made it happen – your website is still where your customers need to be.

Comments:

  1. This is an extremely good point well made, big brands are far too focused on “getting likes” or “getting followers” and have forgotten the absolute basics! I just hope small to mediums learn from the mistakes! However I don’t believe that LinkedIn will be in any decline, unless G+ is going to offer the facility to be able to search for a person by job title, interest, location and more. Which I dont’t believe they will ever do! But going back to the point, businesses must not forget to the basics, must keep their website as one of their top online priorities and mustn’t focus to much on one social networking site, completely agree!

  2. An interesting read Helen – a timely reminder to step back and pay consideration to getting people onto your website (as well as embracing new ways to communicate with customers).

    Just wanted to ask you – is Google + the next big thing as many people claim it to be?

  3. It remains to be seen whether Google+ will take off but early reports from those that are piloting it show a lot of potential. The circles facility will mean that you can separate out your personal and professional life and different areas of interest which is a major limitation of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. There’s already lots of blogs out there on it so you can learn from others’ mistakes before setting up an account.

    Agree with Jonny that Google+ is unlikely to mean the death of LinkedIn though.

  4. Just found this report ‘How valuable are heavy social media users, anyway?’ which backs up the fact that lots of online activity doesn’t translate to outcomes. Heavy users of social media are less likely to get involved in things offline and less likely to purchase/spend online http://onforb.es/oXUyOL

    Lesson for us all here – social media is very useful and can bring a return on investment but volume and engagement with the ‘usual suspects’ won’t give results. It’s quality relationships that counts.

  5. I’m not as optimistic about Google+’s future as you are and I don’t see Facebook going anywhere soon. As for it being more important to drive traffic to our websites rather than our Facdebook Pages, let’s think about that for a moment. Are the companies who are working hard at getting Likes actually driving traffic that should have been driven to their website or are they just appealing to their audience in a different and optional way?

    Let’s say a coffee shop has a website and also a Facebook Page. Now, they can put a sign in the window or print a call to action on their receipts and their choice would be to ask people to visit http://www.mynotsofamousyetcoffeeshop.com or to “Like us on Facebook”. I’d go with the Facebook CTA every time. Why? How many of their patrons really care about visiting their website? They already know who they are and what they serve unless this is their first visit. But, most of them love using Facebook and being asked to Like their favorite coffee shop’s Page is going to get a much more positive result than asking them to type in a URL. If the coffee shop is smart they’ll have a QR code on their sign or printed on their coffee cup protectors.

    Now, just how much benefit does that coffee shop get by having their patrons Like their Facebook Page as opposed to visiting their website just once? A heck of a lot. If they visited their website they’d have only find out what they already know. They know the name, they know where it is, they know what they serve. What more would they have learned by visiting their website? On the other hand, if they Liked the coffee shop’s Facebook Page, that coffee shop can now let them know when they’re having a free coffee Friday; when they’ve added a new flavor; ask them to bring a friend in for a free coffee; and on and on.

    So, yes, it may be more important to drive online traffic from search engines and banner ads to our websites and then make sure we have an obvious link to our Facebook Pages as well, but there are lots of ways to drive traffic and in many cases, I think it makes more sense to drive the traffic to our Facebook Pages. By adding a good custom landing page for non fans to see, instead of sending them directly to our Wall or Info page, we have the opportunity to explain to them why they should Like our Page and can also encourage them to visit our website after they’ve Liked us.

  6. Thanks Hugh, really good point. You’ve given me lots of food for thought.

    You’ve hit the nail on the head about what Facebook pages can do for engaging and getting additional business from existing customers whether a consumer brand or a B2B service.

    I think the point Rob Wilmot was making was simply that it can be dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket when, for example, launching a new car model. In that case, the Facebook ‘Likes’ probably don’t convert to sales in the same way.

  7. This is really thought-provoking, Hugh. Thank you so much.

    A different issue we’ve been noticing is that in the UK, among the business community, there is a massive reluctance to comment on blogs. I sit on a board and we’ve asked the board to get involved with the blog – as guest bloggers and commenting etc – but really, successful, senior people are dying to take part but too shy/embarrassed! I think the US business market is way ahead – but it would be interesting to have your views.

    We have seen getting comments on blogs as being a ‘goal’ for some of our clients – but because of the above issue, are thinking that getting Facebook or LinkedIn ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ is perhaps an easier request that is far more likely to be delivered.

    I think we need to re-look at some of this and it’s a really good point you make about driving people to a Facebook page is an easier and more worthwhile ‘ask’ of people. Though having said that senior business people in the UK still aren’t really on Facebook in a professional capacity!

    Thanks!

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